Paulskirocks Gives Me A Handmade Redwood Guitar...will
Willie approve? March 2011
friend Paul, who sometimes goes by Paulskirocks online, is an electrical
contractor who lives in Northern California. I went to high school
with him. He's one of my best friends, really like a brother to me.
Incredibly, he made me a completely custom redwood guitar, quite a beautiful and generous gift.
How did this come to be?
Last year, he decided to try his hand at making guitars. And to make it all the more special, he had some old-growth redwood that had been in his family for decades. We'll let him pick up the story:
"About 38 years ago, my older brother found a giant redwood on the northern California coast that had been hit by lightning, so he cut a chunk of slab and a chunk of the burl... The burl was cut about 3 inches thick, and has some kind of finish on it."
He used this to make his first guitar.
first guitar came out quite well. Really well, in fact. I played
it a few months ago. It played and sounded fantastic! He wanted
to start in on mine as well as make another guitar for his nephew.
When he went back up to Northern California, I sent up some money for some
Although it would be made sort of as a Tele, Paul suggested that he make it in the shape of a Jazzmaster for better balance and comfort. Sure!!
let him briefly describe the electronics: "I used a
Les Paul style toggle,
and push-pull pots, so I can put the two pickups in series when I pull the
volume out, and pulling the tone out changes the phase of the neck pickup,
getting that quacky strat sound when desired.
One thing I am really digging is how this guitar feels when standing and using a strap. It balances perfectly, and the slight arm and tummy contours make this baby really comfy."
loved the guitar. It has quite a variety of sounds, from more
traditional Tele sounds to things quite different, all of them beautiful tones. The guitar plays really well, too, and looks gorgeous,
showcasing the redwood magnificently. And it's quite unusual, too.
If you Google to try and find guitars made completely of redwood, you won't
find too many. Almost all have redwood tops.
But...the guitar had to pass one brutal final test: Willie The Three-Legged Cat had to approve.
inspected the guitar. "Beautiful burl." He sniffed around.
"Ah, Tru-Oil finish? Nice."
He looked at the bridge."Paul chose the Babicz 'Full Contact Hardware' replacement system for "Telecaster" style guitars," Willie meowed. "Good choice. And black nickel...looks suh-weet. These bridges offer unmatched stability, increased sustain, dramatically improved fullness and tone along with complete adjustability. Nice. Guitar Player Magazine gave these a great review a while back." Willie began nodding in approval. "And classy...a brass tone block! Extra sustain. Nice."
then began sniffing around further. "These pick-ups...Bryan Gunther
makes these, right?
Pups. Well, okay. Why didn't he call them BG Kitties?
Whatever. Anyway, Tele neck and bridge pups, vintage wind, I assume?
I do grudgingly hafta admit these sound really good, though, despite the
silly puppy name. Paul has some taste...I like what he did with the
push/pull knobs...you can put the two out pick-ups out of phase, too..."
He looked up past the Warmoth Telecaster® Vintage Modern, a maple neck with Indian rosewood fretboard, and then slowly nodded in approval. "Paul chose Sperzel 6TL black locking tuners, eh? I love Uncle Paul, of course, but I'm really down with his choice of hardware too."
Willie stepped back. "I like this. I like this a lot. It's gorgeous, a one-of-a-kind redwood guitar. Really beautiful. He let the natural beauty of the redwood speak for itself. I like what he did by using the redwood burl as a pickguard. Really nice. It'd be criminal to cover this with cheap plastic. When's Uncle Paul coming back down here?"
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